Woman rides MS 150, raises money in support of mother's condition

HOUSTON – Roughly 13,000 cyclists, including Kate Stoneham, are getting ready for the MS 150 ride this weekend.

Stoneham has taken part in the MS 150 every year for the past 12 years. For 10 of those rides, she's been a member of Club 300, which is made up of the top 300 fundraisers of each ride. In fact, this year, the total amount she has raised since starting will eclipse $100,000.

“It's one little thing I can do to make sure that people living with MS (multiple sclerosis) every day have money to go towards the therapies they need, the treatments they need and the research we need to just erase this forever,” Stoneham said.

Modesty aside, Stoneham has a reason to be motivated – her mother, Ann Balog.

“I was 50, and it was an all-of-a-sudden kind of thing. It was just bam,” Ann said of her diagnosis with MS.

A few years later, Stoneham made a decision and got her father, Mike Balog, involved.

“She called me shortly before Christmas and said, 'Dad I need your help,'” said Mike. “’I want a bike 'cause I want to ride in the MS 150 for Mom.’”

“I was not an athletic person at all,” Stoneham said. “Now everybody just knows it's my thing.”

Not only has the ride changed Stoneham, but the family believes it's had an effect on her mother.

“At the time that she was diagnosed, there were really only three drugs that you could take. Now, there are over a dozen,” says Mike. “A lot of it is surely attributable to the money that's been raised in the MS 150.”

“Without the kind of support that I have had, I wouldn't be doing as well as I am and this man moves mountains to get me what I need when I need it, and our daughter does the same,” Ann said of Mike and Stoneham.

Stoneham and the St. Arnold team are slated to leave Rhodes Stadium this Saturday at 6:45 a.m. The stadium is one of three locations from which riders will be departing to start their long trek to Austin.